To the editor:
Regarding a recent opinion piece by former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and Frank Hartmann, in another publication, it’s frightening to me as a former member of North Andover's Finance Committee what devastation one rogue patrolman well defended by the police union could wreak on a town's finances from lawsuits.
Like clockwork, as renegotiation time rolled around again, I saw upfront the police union's obliviousness to and lack of interest in the town's financial health and the pocketbooks of taxpayers they serve. Eye-popping cushy contracts from another era that most people could only dream about were the result.
The golden goose was going to produce gold forever — no maintenance required.
Dues gave muscle to the union's pledge to defend its members accused of misconduct, whether right or wrong, with a robustness demonstrated many times, undercutting the town's supervisory role — not just in my town but everywhere.
By contrast, the school board and superintendent have far more effective supervisory control over teacher misconduct. Their union is far less aggressive and their contracts are more reasonable, in my opinion.
Fellow police officers instantly know when an officer is out of control. Let's turn that into an early-warning system to protect our towns and all of us, regardless of color.
Urge your town's negotiator to push the Police union for contracts shifting some responsibility to the union for policing its members, but in a measurable way.
And let's call upon our legislators to make it easier to get rid of bad actors.